I first became aware of Lair Of The Minotaur when the guy at my local record shop slapped “The Ultimate Destroyer” album on the counter back in 2006 and said “You’ll love this – it’s RIDICULOUS!”. He didn’t mean silly or daft – he genuinely meant it was stupidly heavy. Tracks like ‘Juggernaut Of Metal’ and ‘Cannibal Massacre’ remain firm favourites to this day, but sadly the follow up “War Metal Battle Master” didn’t grab me in the same way due to the leaner and slightly gentler production (although still worthy of both metal horns being waved aloft for such a fine title). “Evil Power,” more recently, saw them back in “turned up to 11″ mode but the songs themselves weren’t of the high standard of earlier works.
And so, after that brief recap… the trio return with their 7” (also available as a digital download) “Godslayer”, released for record store day on April 20th. Well, polish my broadsword this is what we wanted to hear. Two perfectly crafted tracks with that trademark buzzing guitar and over-amplified vocal sound all present and correct. With a riff that pulsates, drumming that frightens and all the shouting you could possibly need, these hooligans really are back on form. B-side ‘The Black Heart Of The Stygian Drakonas’ erupts in unusually frenetic and fast-paced fashion but then tumbles into sludge and menace so beautifully I had to stop typing and have a bit of a headbang and then grasp invisible orbs with both of my talon-like hands.
The gratuitously spooky keyboards at the end are a master stroke and raised a smile as the EP closed and simply left me with no other option but to play it again. And again. A couple of local shows in and around Chicago are due soon and then one can only hope a new album which, if this is anything to go by, may even top their early masterpiece.